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An early birthday present for Doctor Who fans

Two more stories found

From Patrick Troughton era

It’s wonderful news

There has been some fantastic news for Doctor Who fans in its 50th anniversary year with the news that 9 more lost episodes have been found. This brings the number of missing episodes down to 97.

Even better news is the fact that they almost complete 2 stories from Patrick Troughton’s second year as the Doctor. Until the discovery of “Tomb of the Cybermen” in the early 1990s, no complete story from this season existed. This year has seen the release of another story from this era, “The Ice Warriors”, with the missing episodes being animated, we now have a run of 3 almost complete stories as the 2 stories that followed, “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” being the stories recently discovered.

These 2 stories are of additional interest as they were directed by people who would become legendary figures for Doctor Who fans.

Salamander looks

Much like the Doctor but is

Ruthless Dictator

The first story, “The Enemy of the World” was directed by Barry Letts who would later go on to produce Doctor Who during the Jon Pertwee era. Until now, only one episode of this story existed and in a global spanning story, the episode that we had is easily the least interesting of the six. This story is discussed by Barry Letts in his autobiography “Who and Me” and some lessons that he learned about how Doctor Who was made and how it may be improved. Something as simple as changing from making an episode a week to two episodes a fortnight made a big difference (especially in relation to sets that sometimes got damaged when they were stored). There was a set problem in the episode that existed which lead to a strange scene of someone under guard being kept in a hallway where he ate a meal. This story also features a doppelgänger, allowing Patrick Troughton to play both the Doctor and the tyrant Salamander with a finale that leads directly into the next story. This story also features an early Doctor Who appearance of an actor who plays villains and officious jobsworths exceptionally well, Milton Johns. He would star in two more Doctor Who stories, both in the Tom Baker era, “The Android Invasion” and “The Invasion of Time”. Had the Harry Potter films been made in the 70s or 80s, he would have been an ideal Severus Snape.

The Yeti return

And Lethbridge-Stewart enters

In the underground

The second story, “The Web of Fear”, is interesting for a number of reasons. One being that the enemy is the Great Intelligence (first encountered in “The Abominable Snowmen”, the story that preceded “The Ice Warriors”). The Great Intelligence has also reappeared in the new series of Doctor Who. Web of Fear also introduces a character who would become one of the most popular characters in the series, although in this story the Brigadier has yet to be promoted and is Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in this story. The Great Intelligence used robotic Yeti to carry out its plans and inside one of the furry suits was the man who would go on to be the much-loved Sergeant Benton of U.N.I.T., John Levene. This story was directed by Douglas Camfield. Camfield has directed many of the most fondly remembered stories form the classic era. There is a very good extra about Douglas Camfield on the recently released “Terror of the Zygons” DVD. The set design on Web of Fear is very good, so good that the production team almost got into trouble after being denied access to film on the underground, they reproduced the underground so convincingly that those who had denied the access thought they had filmed there anyway.

The soundtracks for both these stories have been available with Frazer Hines providing the linking narration for both stories but it is a pleasure to view these lost stories again. Both stories are available to download, the still missing episode 3 of The Web of Fear features the soundtrack and telesnaps, from iTunes but there will be a DVD release for both stories.

When 108 became 106

The number 108 has a particular resonance with Doctor Who fans. For many years this number represented the number of missing episodes from the Doctor Who archive. The missing stories, dating from the 1960s, are from the black and white era of Doctor Who when episodes were routinely wiped so that the videotape could be reused in an effort to save on the costs. For more about the missing episodes, I heartily recommend the book Wiped by Richard Molesworth.

That number is now 106 with the discovery of two missing episodes. One of the episodes is from the William Hartnell story, Galaxy Four and the other features Patrick Troughton in The Underwater Menace.

Galaxy Four sees William Hartnell’s Doctor accompanied by Maureen O’Brien as Vicki and Peter Purves as Steven Taylor and also features the infamous Chumblies. Some extracts from episode one are on the Lost In Time DVD but the episode that was found is episode three.

The Underwater Menace sees Patrick Troughton’s Doctor accompanied by  Anneke Wills as Polly and Michael Craze as Ben and by new crew member, Jamie McCrimmon. The episode found pre-dates  Episode 3 (also on the Lost In Time DVD), as it is episode 2 of this 4 part serial and in being so is now the earliest episode to feature Patrick Troughton with all episodes from his first two stories, The Power Of The Daleks and The Highlanders missing.

This is the first discovery since episode 2 of the Daleks Master Plan was returned in 2004.

For more information about the discovery, please listen to this special edition of the Doctor Who podcast here.

It will be interesting to see what they will look like after the amazing restoration team get to work on them but if you want to have a sneak peak, click here.

This discovery gives Doctor Who fans hope that somewhere, there may be more treasures to be found and that magic number will keep on decreasing.

If you think you may have information about missing episodes, please contact missingepisodes@drwho-online.co.uk or click here